It doesn’t matter how you personally define success. There are certain universal steps that, regardless of what your goal may be, work across the board.
Pinpoint Your Passions
A common mistake is dwelling on your regrets instead of focusing on your passion. Knowing what motivates you will put your light years ahead of the rest of the world, so embrace your talents and build your life around them. And becoming successful in anything means you do what YOU dream of doing, not what others want you to do.
Your next action: Take a few minutes right now and list your passions and talents. Then match them with a list of opportunities. You may think “I’m only good at shopping and cooking.” Two words: Martha Stewart. You may say, “I only like sports and talking with people. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a sports reporter. “I prefer working with children and I love history.” You’re primed for a teaching position. Your passion and your talents never limit you. What holds you back is a shortsighted vision of opportunities to put your passion and talents to good use.
Buckle On Your Blinders
Wear the right kind of “blinders,” the kind that forces you to have absolute tunnel vision and maniacal focus on your fulfillment and success. It’s a headfirst, failure-is-not-an-option commitment to your goal, and it’s what distinguishes superstars from modest achievers. Professional athletes are great examples of focus. Watch Tiger Woods sink a 40 foot putt and you’ll see someone with blinders on. Remember Mel Gibson forced The Passion of the Christ into theaters in the face of a complete lack of interest from any major studios.
Your next action: Write down anything, that can deepen your commitment to take advantage of your talents. It might be feelings or events. They may be positive or negative, so long as they motivate you. Don’t play the role of a victim, but you can certainly use negative moments to inspire positive actions.
Ask Your Advisers
Every star has a team of supporters: mentors, professionals, role models, motivators, and reality checkers (folks who aren’t afraid to be blunt with you). A tight knit team can accomplish more together than they can separately and with the right individuals behind you, you’ll surprise even yourself with how far you can go.
Your next action: Make a list of the people who can help you achieve your goal, who can help you utilize your talents, who can help propel you toward your passion. If you want to write a book, one of the professionals on your team might be an editor. If you want to build houses, you might have an architect on your team of advisers. If you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you need at least one on your team (as well as a lawyer and an accountant). Once you’ve assembled your backers, put them to the test. Do they support you? Do they encourage you? If they’re not good teammates, drop them.
Learn to Be Lucky
Luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparedness. You have to make your own luck. How? By working hard, preparing for opportunities, and being in the right place at the right time. The ability to “find” that right place will come with experience (either yours or your adviser’s). There’s an old saying that you can’t get hit by lightning if you don’t stand in the rain. But you need to be willing to stand in the rain longer than anyone else.
Your next action: List your daily activities. Have you positioned yourself to be lucky? Country singers go to Nashville because that’s where the opportunities are. If you want a future in the tech biz, maybe you should be in Silicon Valley. Next, make a list of your top accomplishments. Acknowledge the effort and commitment it took to achieve them. Then go after your dreams, knowing that with passion and persistence you can do anything.
photo credit: richardmasoner